'The Good Wife' recap: I just called to say I love you
It’s safe to say that Alicia and Peter Florrick are the only characters on television who would have oral sex while listening to NPR. If "All Things Considered" doesn't get you in the mood -- or at least, you know, help you unwind at the end of the day -- then alas, "The Good Wife" probably isn't the show for you. If I'm being scrupulously accurate here, what really gets Peter going is watching Alicia in action in the courtroom, but the message is the same: Intelligence is sexy.
A year ago, Peter was partial to toe-sucking and phone sex with blonds named Amber. Now, he can barely contain himself watching Alicia yell things like "I will refer you to the Judicial Conduct Committee for immediate action!" and (my personal favorite) "You’re piercing the 5th Amendment right!" To me, this is more an indication of how much Alicia has evolved in the last year, not Peter. She’s stronger, more confident, and more willing to speak her mind. Turning to Alicia for advice has become a turn-on for Peter. It certainly makes sense that Peter would want a smart, sexy wife with a newly thriving career that can boost his own. So does this mean partnership will be more Clintonian than Edwardian?
The many teasers for Tuesday night’s season premiere asked, "Who will Alicia choose?" but sadly (and inevitably) we’re left not knowing the answer to that very question. "The Good Wife" is not a show to deliver fast, easy answers -- and besides, we’ve got a whole season in front of us. Did you really think Will was going to win this time around? Still, there is something tragic about Eli’s meddling. If Jackie is the show’s Lady MacBeth, then Eli is its Iago (just to mix my Shakespeare metaphors). Will’s confession to Alicia was exhilarating, so why don’t I just re-create it here for you:
"My plan is, I love you, OK? I've probably loved you ever since Georgetown. So phone me, I'll meet you anywhere, and we will make a plan. If none of this makes sense to you, just ignore it. No embarrassment, nothing. We’ll just go back to the way things stood."
Sigh. It was heartfelt, assertive, brave, perfect. It was so good, I'm hoping some obsessive fan will loop it together over some techno beats and auto-tune vocals so I can listen to it over and over on the treadmill. That’s how great it was. Too bad Alicia will never hear it. Kalinda, ever so wise, tells Alicia to talk to Will. "Anything said in voice-mail doesn’t count," she said, and truer words were never spoken. But Alicia seems unlikely to confront Will anytime soon; in this particular relationship, she's all too ready to revert to her passive ways. She'd rather try to divine some meaning from the way Will's feet are pointed than actually confront him about it, and he's understandably guarded. Their exchanges are brief and awkward, though it still seems Will can't quite help trying to charm Alicia, cracking a mild joke about the arrogant Judge Matchick. I am hoping that the natural chemistry between these two will win in the end. The truth is, I don’t see Alicia staying with Peter in the long run; the immutable laws of television physics dictate that she will end up with Will (see also: Ross and Rachel, Donna and David, Tony and Angela). I just wonder if this means waiting until November, or 2013. Any predictions?
Other changes have come more rapidly. The firm has gotten a mysterious -- and ridiculously handsome -- new partner, Derrick Bond (Michael Ealy). There’s already some vaguely defined tension between Derrick and the old guard. They’re skeptical of his egalitarian management style (no corner offices, mentoring programs), and Diane is anxious about being excluded from the bro-ing out.
With Derrick arrives another good-looking addition, Blake, an in-house investigator who instantly clashes with Kalinda. Woe to anyone who steps into Kalinda's turf, but this guy -- who to me looks more like he should be drinking Natty Ice from a backpack at Bonnaroo than deciphering SIM cards -- has her riled up. He knows about her past life as someone named "Leela" (Leela Whitman, perhaps?), and she’s not happy about it. Interesting that Kalinda didn't just shrug it off. Even under extreme circumstances, she usually has the world's best poker face. This time, she's shoving Blake within minutes of meeting him. Whatever Blake's got, it's juicy. Though, I wonder, why does he feel the need to blackmail a colleague? Do in-house investigators make that much money that he wants the job to himself? I’m curious to see how this will play out.
As always, this episode was filled with references so timely you’d almost think they wrote, filmed and edited the show yesterday -- rather than, you know, way back in August. Derrick is encouraging a "paperless office" and hands out new iPads to the firm's employees. His major asset is a class-action lawsuit against none other than BP. Alicia's new client is "Mr. Sally," a hacker who runs a Wikileaks-esque website called opensourcefind.com and who has a name that makes me giggle. He is accused of murdering his business partner but claims, unconvincingly, that the Pentagon is responsible. I wish they'd gone all the way and cast someone blond and otherworldly-looking, like Julian Assange, rather than the squirrelly fellow they did choose, but no mind. I loved Anya, the twitchy conspiracy theorist who delivered the line of the night, "Like that’s a real baby," and was convinced a helicopter overhead was out to get her. I’m pleased to see that along with its canny timing, "The Good Wife's" sense of humor remains firmly in place.
And although Peter is behaving himself, another politician has already stepped in to fill the void. You know how the saying goes: When God zips up one fly, he opens another. Or something. This latest scandal doesn't, as one of Alicia’s colleagues suggests, mean that the Florricks are "off the hook." Instead, the opposite is true. Peter and Alicia are no longer front-page fodder, but now they’re the sidebar to someone else’s scandal, and subject to absurd speculation by "body language experts." I loved this dig in particular, a sign that the writing team at "The Good Wife" draws as much from Us Weekly as NPR. That’s not to say that the former is as valid a news source as the latter, but this show is a mirror for the scandal-loving era we live in, so the pulp is as important as the politics.
What did you think? Who's got some "Leela" theories? Any predictions as to when Will and Alicia will finally get together?
-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles) try to keep it professional on "The Good Wife." Credit: David M. Russell / CBS